FCAT Graduate Student Orientation
In collaboration with the Dr. Arne Eigenfeld from the School for Contemporary Arts (SCA), Sarah Louise Turner from the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) and Renee Ann McCallum from the Student Learning Commons (SLC), CELLTR facilitated two workshops for first-year graduate students in the SCA’s MFA and MA programs as part of a two-day orientation.
This graduate-student orientation aimed to prepare students to be academically successful by providing information and resources that communicated the expectations, norms, and standards of their graduate programs. Moreover, the orientation sought to build a sense of community among the incoming class and to connect them to faculty, staff, and other students within a diverse and creative learning environment.
To start off the orientation, current graduate students and alumni shared their experiences by highlighting such things as the challenges they have encountered, the support systems they have built, the useful skills and strategies they are learning in the program, and their plans for the future. In the faculty panel, led by the SCA’s Dr. Eldritch Priest, students experienced what a typical class in the MFA Seminar Year 1 is like. Priest, drawing on one of the course’s assigned readings, discussed how to annotate key terms, identify the structure of a text, and compose reading responses. To bridge reading expectations with writing expectations, Amanda Wallace, from CELLTR, offered a workshop on Foundations in Graduate Level Academic Writing, focusing on features of formal and academic writing, plagiarism, and citation styles.
In the second day, Dr. Valia Spiliotopoulos and Amanda Wallace, from CELLTR presented on the topic of Effective Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication. The workshop focused on features of internationalized teaching and learning contexts, models of intercultural competence development, and offered recommendations for being an effective teaching assistant in multilingual education contexts. The next two sessions were led by Dr. Laura Marks and Professor Judy Radul from the SCA on the topics of Affective Analysis and on the Value of Theory for an Artist. Finally, Renee Anne McCallum from the SLC presented Write Right: Expectations and the Writing Process, which focused on the writing process and expectations of graduate work.
The two-day orientation was highly received by both students, staff, and facilitators. The SCA, the TLC, the SLC and the CELLTR look to continue these collaborative relationships in future events.